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Followers of Christ, Not Men

John Collins01/21/2013In the opening statements of 1 Corinthians, Paul objects to the divisions in the Church that had already sprung up.  Some divided themselves following either Paul or Apollos.  Others divided themselves following Cephas, or Peter.  Others claimed to follow Christ, thinking they were better than the others.  

Paul asked them: "Is Christ Divided?"

While religious cults separate themselves from the Body of Christ outwardly, their division does not stop there.  Inwardly, they separate themselves against even their own kind.

Though it is a deceptive evil to follow a man instead of Christ, for this study's sake let's pretend that we still follow William Branham, and that he came back today to see the fruits of his false doctrines.  In the words of Paul, replacing with today's names, let's see how this might play out:

"Each one of you says, 'I follow Eddie Byskal,' or 'I follow Joseph Branham,' or 'I follow Donnie Reagan,' or 'I follow William Branham.  Is William Branham divided? Was William Branham crucified for you?"

Taking their false prophet's example on a large scale, the following has shown the fruits of the spirit by taking it on a smaller scale -- amongst themselves.  In cities of four or five cult churches, there are four or five divisions.  Sometimes even within the same church, there are divisions.  New divisions have sprung up, some believing that Joseph is God while others believing that William Branham was God.  The third group claims to follow Christ, and think themselves better than the other two, just like the people of Corinth.

On a larger scale, the cult followings sever their members from the Body of Christ in other churches, refusing fellowship from God's children in their own cities.  We can also take the same statements from Paul, and apply it to the cult on a global scale.

"Each one of you says, 'I am a Baptist' or 'I am a Methodist,' or 'I am a Lutheran,' or 'I follow William Branham.  Is Christ divided? Was William Branham crucified for you?"

Early in his ministry, before the India vision failed and Branham's team abandoned him, Branham spoke these words almost letter for letter.  Outwardly, he taught that the Body of Christ should not be divided, while inwardly the deceptive spirit that Christ foretold was nagging him, pulling him to sever his members of the Body of Christ.  Around 1954, Branham turned completely around, changing his doctrine of a united body of Christ into a severed, dying member.

It is very ironic that in his change from being united to being severed, his emphasis is placed on "baptism in Jesus' Name," because Paul's last statement on this subject is just that.  Paul says, "For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power."

As Christians, we should ask ourselves.  Have we lost focus of Who we should be following?  Have we severed our members of the Body of Christ?  Have we let the cross of Christ be emptied of its power?